Here we have Part 2 of Donor TY’s story. Having now donated twice, TY looks back on both experiences and the differences between them. To read Part 1 of TY’s […]
Here we have Part 2 of Donor TY’s story. Having now donated twice, TY looks back on both experiences and the differences between them. To read Part 1 of TY’s story, click here.
Where are you calling from today?
I’m in Los Angeles right now in my apartment. I just got back yesterday from Seattle. Just getting back into the swing of things… Right now I’m working at a video gaming/entertainment place. Covid kind of threw things off track so that’s kind of just a filler job until things pick up again in the entertainment industry – that kind of had a full halt.
So I know that you initially went into egg donation thinking that you wouldn’t have kids in the future maybe. I’m wondering as you’ve gone through it a couple times, is your motivation the same or has that changed over time?
I think it’s definitely changed. There’s still that factor of “I’m not sure I’m going to have kids in the future” and, you know, the idea that each cycle is eggs that “go to waste” in a way. It’s hard knowing that there are families that are not typical and to be able to do that. But my view has changed now because the last donation I did was an open donation, so I got to know the intended parents and everything, and they gave me updates throughout. We’re friends basically. We had dinner a couple times, we text. And they just recently had a baby! So I think just having that interaction with them and knowing who they are, knowing what great people they are and how much they want a baby, I think that connection with them… I was just like, wow that’s such a great thing that’s happening in their life.
That’s so cool! So then this cycle was it an open donation as well?
It was very anonymous, very closed off. I don’t know who they are. I know it was at a clinic in Seattle but I don’t know if they live there. Very standard, like I’m not going to hear anything from them unless they need medical information or they and the child both agree to wanting to speak to me before the child is an adult.
So how did you feel about that? Did you like one form of contact better than the other or was it just different?
It is different. I loved being part of the process more in the open donation just because I have a great relationship with the parents – they feel like family now… But I think it doesn’t really affect me wanting to donate to someone. I think if someone is going to go through the effort of this whole process it means they really want a child and I think that means they would be good parents.
Could you tell me a bit about the donation process this time and in what ways was it similar or different to the first time in terms of what the clinic was like and how you felt physically?
Well, first of all they retrieved less eggs which was already a difference for my body because before it was like 30+ and this time they got 25. Last time I had very severe bloating where I was kind of bedridden for a while, honestly, because I was constipated. At some point I was so sick feeling like I would throw up because I wasn’t able to get anything out…
This time around the clinic was very informative and caring about making sure that my experience was going to be comfortable too. Not to say that the other clinic didn’t – they just didn’t maybe prepare me as much. I felt like everything I learned I was like, “Oh that’s happening now?” or “Oh, that’s what I should be doing now?” This time around the clinic was like, “Hydrate, electrolytes, coconut water” leading up even before the treatment, preparing your body. They were very adamant about certain things I should be taking and gave a lot of suggestions to help, like fiber gummies or Miralax, which I thought was really helpful because this time around even though there was still bloating and discomfort, I was able to be up and about much sooner. I didn’t deal with the severe issues I did last time.
How many days would you say you took off before you were back to normal?
I had the retrieval this past Thursday and I would say the first day after everything I took it more as a relax day, chill. But then the following day we were still in Seattle so we just took it as our last day to go shopping and buy gifts for family. So I was able to be up and about. Granted there was some discomfort, (I just took some pain meds throughout the day), but it was just one of those things that you know there’s fluid buildup in your body – you have to pee a lot, you have to drink a lot. Just knowing those things – it made it easier. I think it was great because the last time I was in bed for a few days.
Would you say that the difference was that it was actually physically easier or were you more mentally prepared and knew how to handle it better?
I think it’s a combination of both. I think last time was kind of worst case scenario so I already had the worst. So mentally there was that. And then physically I think I was much more prepared. The doctor at the clinic was very careful about choosing the follicles that she wanted to retrieve. So even though I had maybe 32 follicles, she only took 25 vs. doing something that might cause over-stimulation. She wanted to make sure the medication wasn’t going to cause more problems for me too so that was really great. Not to say that the other clinic didn’t, but they didn’t talk me through their thought process.
For someone who hasn’t donated eggs before, what advice would you have? How should they prepare for it? What should they expect?
I know everyone reacts differently. They always say with the injections and stuff some people have some side effects or they don’t feel well afterward. The only thing for me is just that I got some bruising from a lot of the needles and some bloating. But overall, I personally don’t have a lot of issues with the injections other than the fact that you’re sticking needles into you!
I’d say listen to your doctor and ask them for advice if you’re not really sure. Drink a lot of electrolytes. That’s a big thing they would always press upon. Regular water can sit in there and cause more bloating and stuff so I’m still drinking coconut water! They pointed out other stuff that’s helpful. They have Nuun tablets that have electrolytes that you just add to water so that’s a good tip. Or just getting electrolyte water like gatorade. Those things really helped.
Stock up on things that can help loosen your stool. When they retrieve the follicles, your body still thinks there’s something in there, so they fill it with fluids and things and that’s why it bloats. They take the liquid away from your stool so that’s why constipation happens to a lot of people. So stay hydrated and if you need to take stuff, just do it. It makes life easier. Salty foods! I definitely indulged in chips!
It’s really not the worst thing if you’re prepared for it and you have somebody there who understands and can help out with anything that you need. Whoever you pick to be with you on retrieval, make sure that they’re understanding and that they can be there a couple days to just help out with some things because depending on how severe your bloating is, maybe bending over is kind of difficult.
That’s good to know. Speaking on the support system, did you bring your partner along with you?
I did! And our cats which was great.
So you’ve now donated twice. Are you considering donating again?
I mean if there’s somebody else who wants it then yeah! I don’t think I would ever say no unless it was something that was dangerous to my health. But apparently I’m very fertile so I’m like sure! If anybody wants to!
What did you use your compensation for? Pay off school, pay off debts, save it?
This time around my plan once we have the money is I want to get eye surgery. I wear contacts and glasses. I’ve been wearing glasses since kindergarten. I’d love to see without prescription lenses at some point in my life! Especially in L.A., I’ve had a couple scares with earthquakes in the middle of the night and I’m always just fumbling for my glasses. And contact lenses can cause so many troubles. Sometimes I’m like, “I’m just crying because of my contact lenses – I’m fine!” Just those little things. So that’s something I plan to try and do.
Unfortunately, I have really, really poor vision and I can’t do Lasik because they have to shave off too much of your cornea. So there’s another procedure called ICL where they kind of put something similar to a contact lens and insert it in your eye so it corrects it from within. So that’s one thing. The rest, paying off debt and saving it.
So last time you donated with AsiaWest you were working with Amie and this time you were working with Amber. How was that transition? How did you find working with Amber?
Well, working with Amie was great. She was the first person who did my initial interview with AsiaWest. She was the only person I had known. But then we did a dinner meetup in January before Covid and so I got to meet Amber and Delcie. They have obviously different ways of communicating but they were both incredibly helpful. I can’t complain about either. There were no problems.
For people who are looking to work with an egg donation agency, do you have advice on what people should be looking for?
Some place that you are doing barely any heavy lifting. At AsiaWest I feel like I just show up places and everything’s taken care of! Sometimes I’m like, I feel so fancy! Like, “Oh, they booked this for me” – when you say something like that! Obviously, there’s the medical stuff taken care of, but yeah people who take care of the heavy lifting and are very communicative and always checking in. That’s important. Knowing that they’re still around through the whole process and that they want to stay up to date – I think that shows that they’re involved.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.